To say that the security industry draws people in and demonstrates its value in terms of relationship building with the caliber of people who comprise the industry is an understatement, as Bart Williams, President of Security Solutions and Communications, Inc. (Security Solutions) found out.

Founder of Security Solutions

Williams chose to become an engineer as his profession, but he began dabbling in the security industry part time, soon to discover it would lead him on the path to becoming State Senator in the US State of Mississippi.

I started Security Solutions in 1993. I was an engineer at the time and just started [it as a] part time business,” explains Bart Williams, adding “And, for five years, it was part time, but in 1998, I made the jump to do it full time.

Value of ESA membership

Bart Williams describes the value of ESA membership in one word, ‘networking’

Since then, for the last 22 years, Williams has grown his company, currently employing approximately 22 people, and successfully serving the folks of Northern Mississippi.

As a member of Electronic Security Association (ESA), he describes the value of ESA membership in one word, ‘networking’. “I mean, there are 20 things, but in a word, if I had to pick one thing, its networking. I’ve gotten to meet professionals from all across this country. We interact; we share horror stories; we help each other. ESA is a melting pot of that,” said Bart Williams.

In fact, it was the power of networking or as he puts it, “looking people in the eye” that Williams believes empowered him to come out on top of the Mississippi State Senator election.

Entry into MAA and US Politics

It was in 2009 that Williams was elected secretary of the Mississippi Alarm Association (MAA). “That was my entree into associations and started the path that brought me to running for Senate,” he says.

From secretary, Williams was appointed the Legislative Chair of the MMA in 2012 and a year later, they produced a bill that would require licensure in the State of Mississippi to install security systems.

Law requiring licence to install security systems

Most states had it, we didn’t, so we thought the need was there,” Williams said enthusiastically, adding “And the bill was killed in about 30 minutes from one of the big corporate telecom companies.

First we met with AT&T and we found out where there heartburn was"

Having the pleasure to speak with Williams, becoming more and more intrigued by the minute with his story, he said, “Yeah, we thought we really had this great thing going!” With determination and perseverance to do what was right for his home state and the people of Mississippi, Williams and the legislative committee did not give up. Instead, they acted.

The next year, our legislative committee, there’s about four or five of us, we went around meeting,” said Williams, adding “First we met with AT&T and we found out where there heartburn was. It wasn’t anything important to us, so we were able to work out a deal with them on the bill and they became a proponent of it. We also met with other people we thought might be in opposition, legislators, attorneys, everyone we could think of to ‘sell our bill,’ so to speak and make sure we were all aligned.

Senate passes Mississippi State bill

Talk about some serious hustle and it was not for naught. In 2014, the Senate passed the bill unanimously, while the House of Representatives only had one person who did not vote for it. So, Williams and his team were successful in getting that bill created and turned into law for the State of Mississippi. This process grew Williams’ appetite for politics even more, because for him, it is all about the good of the people.

It [passing the bill] was good for the citizens of the state of Mississippi,” Williams stated, adding “That whole process intrigued me and that is where the desire first came about to run for office.

Path to becoming Mississippi State Senator

In June 2020, running for the Mississippi State Senate became real when Jerry Jackson, the current State Senator, retired out of term due to health reasons. (Jackson was the legislator who helped Williams and his team gets their bill passed in 2014.)

The campaign lasted three and a half months and was very intense

I sat there and spent about a day and a half,” reminisces Williams, stating “I talked to my wife, of course, and my family, my business and the good Lord and I didn’t get any opposition so we threw our name in the hat and went through with our campaign.

The campaign lasted three and a half months and was very intense. Williams said, “I worked harder than I have in a long time for something, maybe ever [he chuckles] but we got there.

Hard and well-thought-out campaigning

When the race started, there were four people, and the Williams’ campaign was not frontrunner. There was a lady who was well-known and political, and Williams felt she would probably be the one to come out ahead. This motivated him.

I thought, ‘well, if we’re not going to win, it’s not going to be because we’re not going to try,” Williams stated.

Power of Networking

This is where the power of networking came into play. Williams did all the ‘typical’ campaign practices, advertising and using the advice of a consultant, but he believes going door to door pushed his campaign over the edge in favor of the eyes of the people.

The ‘ground game,’ we call it looking people in their eyes, going door-to-door, and seeing people and meeting people,” he said, adding “We knocked on thousands of doors; this district has a population of 55,000 people. I think that’s what did it for us. We worked extremely hard; had a village; and we came out victorious.

Moving forward

I want to truly represent the people of District 15, which is the district I won in and to be their voice in the legislature"

When asked what he hopes to accomplish in office as Senator, Williams didn’t answer with his laid-out agenda. Instead, he is all about serving the people by allowing their voice to be heard.

I want to truly represent the people of District 15, which is the district I won in and to be their voice in the legislature,” explains Williams, further stating “A lot of people feel like their voice is lost, when someone gets elected, they just kind of become a part of the ‘machine.’ I don’t want to become part of the machine.

Being the voice of the people

Williams’ goal in Senate is profoundly simple, he adds “They [the people] want to be heard on the issues that are important to them, and that’s what I plan on doing.” To others, Williams offers an important piece of advice, “Get involved and stay involved.

Williams sets the example of involvement by not only being a member of ESA, but serving on ESA’s Financial Committee as well, now in addition to being Mississippi State Senator. Williams concludes, “Angela White asked me to serve and I said, ‘yes ma’am!’ I’m a numbers guy; I like numbers, quite simply.

Williams’ journey teaches that even the largest of industries are a lot smaller than initially perceived, so vital to Williams’ success has been networking and serving, getting involved and staying involved.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

In case you missed it

What are the security challenges of protecting SMBs?
What are the security challenges of protecting SMBs?

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) make huge contributions to the economy overall. Considered individually, they may not be as large as companies in the enterprise market, but they have big requirements when it comes to security. SMBs also present unique challenges to security manufacturers and integrators seeking to serve their needs. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the security challenges of protecting small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)?

Expert roundup: healthy buildings, blockchain, AI, skilled workers, and more
Expert roundup: healthy buildings, blockchain, AI, skilled workers, and more

Our Expert Panel Roundtable is an opinionated group. However, for a variety of reasons, we are sometimes guilty of not publishing their musings in a timely manner. At the end of 2020, we came across several interesting comments among those that were previously unpublished. Following is a catch-all collection of those responses, addressing some of the most current and important issues in the security marketplace in 2021.

Smart Offices: How is mobile ID changing the way we access the office?
Smart Offices: How is mobile ID changing the way we access the office?

If you’re a security or facilities manager, you may already be aware of the quiet revolution that’s taking place across businesses and organisations up and down the country. By the end of 2020, 20% of all ID and access control systems featured mobile capability, and this is set to increase by a further 34% over the next three years. There’s no doubt that using a smartphone or mobile device in place of traditional credential and access control is a growing trend that’s only been sped up by the pandemic. It’s true that many businesses are still very much focused on remote working, although many are now starting to implement new-and-improved strategies that are better suited to protect the workforce moving forward. Mobile ID systems As the next normal becomes clearer, businesses will be reviewing procedures such as access control, occupancy monitoring, reducing touch points and tracking visitors. Mobile ID systems are ideally suited to this task. But what are the key reasons for considering such a setup in 2021? But why is this new technology so well-suited to future-proof your physical access system, and why is it becoming so popular? Eradicating outdated legacy credentials Have you seen just how vulnerable outdated Proximity card technology can be? Low-frequency 125kHz cards can be cloned in a matter of seconds with the use of cheap, readily available tools. Despite their weaknesses, they are still used by a huge majority of businesses – big and small. All smartphones include two industry-standard features that make them perfect for operating a secure, contactless credential Replacing such a system with a mobile-enabled system is one of the best ways to increase security ten-fold. Thanks to a cloud-based infrastructure, mobile ID offers best-in-class security and cryptography. All smartphones include two industry-standard features that make them perfect for operating a secure, contactless credential. Bluetooth Smart and NFC (Near Field Communication) make them the best product to operate such a credential via a secure app. If you’re looking for best-in-class security in 2021, mobile access is most definitely the way forward. Removing touch points across the business Reducing touch points and the adoption of touchless facilities has become a key priority for businesses in the wake of COVID-19. Even as businesses start to return to the office and operate a home/office split, it will be imperative that unnecessary contact is kept to an absolute minimum between staff. The traditional issuance of identification and access control credentials can pose problems in this regard. Facility and security managers who are responsible for onboarding and processing ID have done the process face to face. Mobile access makes it possible to carry this process out without people coming into direct content. First, the security manager has access to a secure portal, allowing them to create, manage and edit credentials anywhere. They can upload and remotely transfer mobile ID and access control credentials directly to users’ smartphones over the air. Via the secure app, users can view and see their credentials and immediately begin using it for ID and access control by simply placing their smartphone over card readers. Enabling a more flexible way of working The way in which we work has changed for good. Even as people more people return to the office in 2021, a majority of businesses will be operating a home/office split indefinitely. This once again reinforces the need for a smarter, more adaptable onboarding system. Implementing mobile ID is the perfect way of doing this: over-the-air delivery of credentials and security data is now a given, helping businesses create the perfect balance between the home and the office. No longer do people have to come into the office for the onboarding process. Increasing convenience and user experience More often businesses are realising the value mobile ID can have for enhancing the work experience as well as security Ok, so mobile ID is the perfect way of increasing security and adapting workplaces to a post-COVID way of working. And we’ve not even touched on the most obvious advantage yet: Convenience. How many times have you forgotten your ID card? We’re sure it’s more times than you forget your smartphone. These powerful processors have become intertwined with the way we carry out tasks on a daily basis. They’re so vital that people will soon notice if they’ve forgotten it. From an employee’s perspective, mobile ID and access control is simple, convenient and extremely user-friendly. More and more businesses are realising the value mobile ID can have for enhancing the work experience as well as security. From the employer’s perspective, mobile ID means it’s easier for administrators to manage access and credentials. Future-proofing access control now will ensure that in the longer term, mobile ID is well worth the investment. The annual expenditure of printing ID cards and purchasing credentials can be vast, while reissuance costs can also quickly add up for larger organisations. These issues are a thing of the past for businesses using mobile ID. Mobile ID perfect tool for 2021 and beyond Until mobile ID, new and improved credentials’ main focus was on increasing security. Mobile ID not only delivers that, but it also provides a more convenient way of accessing the office in a way that’s perfectly suited to returning to the office in 2021. If there was ever a time to upgrade, now is the time. Summing up, mobile access is changing the way we access the office by: Eliminating weak links in security systems such as outdated legacy card technologies Eradicating the need for touch points across multiple areas of the workplace Enabling a smarter, more flexible approach to onboarding Increasing convenience – for both employers and employees.